In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Hawaii State FCU helps dreams come true for first-time homebuyers

HSFCU's First-Time Homebuyer program provides step by step help

Sponsored by Hawaii State FCU

Buying your first home is a big step, and the process can be daunting! That’s why Hawaii State FCU created its First-Time Homebuyer program to help people like Kristie Duarte. The credit union has a team of expert mortgage loan officers guiding homebuyers through every step of the process.

While looking to buy a home, Duarte was faced with some challenges.

“We are a one-income family because I’m a stay-at-home mom to homeschool our three children,” Duarte says. “We knew that would be an issue when it came to how much we could qualify for on a mortgage.” With the help of Hawaii State FCU, the family was approved for a house worth over $1 million based on their income alone.

“Our mortgage loan officer was the best. She didn’t disqualify us based on income alone, but looked at the specific property we were interested in and talked to us about our specific financial situation,” Duarte explains.

Hawaii State FCU’s First-Time Homebuyer Program has low down payment options and no household income cap, and only requires a three percent minimum down payment. Victor Brock, senior vice president of consumer and mortgage lending at Hawaii State FCU, says the team of expert mortgage loan officers guiding homebuyers through every step of the process is what makes the biggest difference.

“It’s not just about numbers for us, but about building that relationship and being part of this exciting journey for them,” Brock says.

Brock says buying your first home is exciting, but can also be overwhelming if you don’t have a professional to help. Here are a few of his tips for first-time homebuyers:

– Think long term. Decide if you’re looking for a house that you’ll want to live for just a few years or someplace where you’d like to live for many years and raise your family.

– Budget for all expenses. Many first-time homebuyers only look at their monthly mortgage payment when they budget for a new home, but that doesn’t give you them full picture of their future household budget. Consider other fees such as closing costs, as well as ongoing property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, utilities, commuting and maintenance costs once you’re in the new home.

– Start saving for a down payment early. While many lenders with first-time homebuyer programs such allow for as little as three percent down, it’s good to calculate how much you need to save to reach your goal amount. Hawaii State FCU has a variety of free mortgage calculators on its website to help you calculate mortgage payments, compare mortgage loans and even determine how much home you can afford.

– Attend one of Hawaii State FCU’s free Homebuyer Education Seminars. These seminars cover the basics of mortgage loan qualification, explain the home-buying process, and help people who are considered purchasing their first home get ready for the home-buying process.

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